Venues across Bristol hosted Connected Futures, a 5G smart tourism showcase, on Saturday 16th March.

The event organised by the West of England Combined Authority unveiled the results of the UK’s most ambitious 5G testbed to date.

Revealing the incredible transformative potential of 5G technology for audiences, visitor attractions, investors and public services, the showcase brought together some of the UK’s leading 5G tech pioneers for a day of innovative, cutting edge demonstrations, playable experiences, talks and workshops at M Shed, Millennium Square and We The Curious.

The Connected Futures showcase marked the culmination of a year-long project of new 5G technology and infrastructure in the West of England developed by University of Bristol Smart Lab, and brought together the SMEs who have been working to demonstrate the ground-breaking power and potential of 5G to show off their progress, offering a vision of what a 5G enabled future allows.

The 5G Smart Tourism project is led by the West of England Combined Authority, working at the forefront of innovation in next generation networks like 5G, and funded by Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

It brings together 19 organisations and oversees the creation of a testbed to demonstrate 5G capability, establishing the West of England as a world-leader in the development of advanced fixed and mobile communication systems.

During the one-day showcase, visitors were invited to take part in a series of innovative events ranging from virtual reality to augmented reality to 360° video and locative media, allowing them to sample a wide range of the future applications of 5G technology and its undoubted potential to transform tourism and commercial activity in the region.

Among the experiences were BBC R&D’s demonstration of a new app with VR/AR content, bringing history of Roman Baths to life; award-winning Smartify revealing an enhanced 5G gallery experience via bonus content including audio stories and videos; industry innovator Landmrk inviting visitors on an interactive, 360 video-guided tour around Bristol highlighting vast contrast between 4G + 5G capabilities; and Mo-Sys immersing audiences in a 5G-powered virtual world with their innovative StarTracker ViewFinder.

Digital Minister Margot James MP said: "We all want to have fast, reliable and uninterrupted connectivity on the go and our 5G testbeds being rolled out across the country will help to make that possible.

“The Connected Futures Showcase in the West of England will highlight the exciting potential of 5G technology, with the opportunity to enhance the experience of millions of visitors for years to come."

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles said: “The West of England is well placed to become a smart region – we are already recognised as a centre of excellence, as home to the largest cluster of digital expertise outside London.

“We are leading the way in technology and our businesses and universities are at the forefront of innovation in next-generation networks, including 5G.

“We are ambitious to help support a commercial roll out of 5G infrastructure in the West of England and we see 5G as having a role in helping us address mobility across the region and in helping with digital inclusion.”